Paul Pierce has repeatedly expressed a desire to retire as a Celtic, and believes that this year's team, even without Rajon Rondo, is still strong enough to be a legit contender in the Eastern Conference. If president Danny Ainge disagrees and decides to launch a full-fledged rebuild, Pierce isn't interested in being part of it, as he tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
"It’s all on what they plan on doing," Pierce said. "If they try to go into a rebuild mode, then, you know, I don’t know if I want to be a part of that. But that’s up to them and what they need to do. I don’t want to go out on a rebuild mode…. I want an opportunity to at least try to win another championship, simple and plain. And if that’s not going to be here — if that’s going to be somewhere else — so be it. That’s what it has to be. I mean, even the greatest players played for other franchises."
Pierce has been the subject of a number of trade rumors this season, particularly since Rondo's season-ending injury. Ainge, like Pierce, has said he wants to see No. 34 retire in Boston, though Ainge also acknowledged that he had to act in the club's best interest, regardless of his personal ties to any one player, a stance that Pierce understands.
"Sometimes it’s not about the player," Pierce said. "It’s about the franchise moving forward and doing what they feel is best for them. And players have their agendas, too, as far as older players as they wind down their career wanting to finish on successful teams."
Pierce has a $15.33MM player option for next season, which will be partially guaranteed for $5MM if he exercises it. The 35-year-old indicated to Bulpett that he would also consider retirement this summer if he's still a Celtic and the club has entered rebuilding mode. For now though, Pierce remains fully committed to Boston and is convinced that the team still has the ability to be in the mix for a title.